cover image Lethal Frequencies

Lethal Frequencies

James Galvin. Copper Canyon Press, $11 (64pp) ISBN 978-1-55659-069-6

Prominent chronicler of the West, Galvin (Elements) again employs a spare style to depict the tough landscapes of his Wyoming home and his unsentimental affection for the people who live there. No ``cowboy poet,'' Galvin refuses to romanticize the West: ``The wind, when it finds me, bears no trace/ Of sage-sweet horse smell, no color black,/ No softness of muzzle of the/ Mare, her mane curving and lifting,/ Where she graces the horizon down to nothing.'' The consistent, tough-minded sensibility (which also marked his 1992 novel, The Meadow) of these poems is lit by flashes of humor (``Statistics show that/ One in every five/ Women/ Is essential to my survival''). The real surprise of this volume is ``The Sacral Dreams of Ramon Fernandez,'' an imaginative speculation about the life of a real-life European critic mentioned in Wallace Stevens's ``The Idea of Order at Key West.'' Stripped of the familiar wilderness locales, Galvin's ability to summon up another's inner world takes center stage. (Mar.)